There is an epidemic in this city. Over the past few years, addiction has spread throughout the street, turning normal people into crazed junkies, always hungry but never filled.
It has taken over the lives of ordinary people - students, tourists, and young professionals - and the not so ordinary - hipsters, musicians, and artists.
And this outbreak of addiction is one that is perfectly legal. Some of the addicts are even cops!
I am speaking, of course, about Victoria's noodle addiction.
I'm a little embarrassed about it, because I've never really seen myself as the type to be an addict. But I am one of the growing number of Victorians who is a noodle junkie. I realized it last night:
I found myself inside the Noodle Box, listening to strange european electronic music while waiting in line, desperately anxious to get to the cashier.
"I... need my noodles, man! Gimme my noodles!" I said to the cashier, grabbing her collar with sweaty hands.
She smiled mirthlessly at me, in the manner of pushers the world over, and said, "Do you want some of the local, west coast shit, or do you want the imported asian stuff? And how hot do you want it, man? Because we do all kinds."
"Hot. Extra hot," I said, my skin tingling with anticipatory noodle-bliss. "Black bean. Hokkein noodles. Tofu."
I pressed my money in her hand, and she just smiled evilly. "Price went up. Eleven don't cut it no more."
"What!? But, this is all I have!"
"Thirteen, or no noodles for you."
"But... but... I'm sick." I whimpered.
I dug in my pocket and pulled out the last of my laundry money, wondering how long I could go before I'd have to start re-wearing my socks. "This is... this is all I got."
She counted it twice. "Great. It'll be a half hour wait."
"Half an hour!? But, I need my noodles now!"
"Well, you're gonna have to wait."
"You're killing me. I'm, like, dying, man!"
"Grab a seat."
And so I found myself sitting on a chair, writhing with "The Noodle Sweats". Next to me was a hipster in emo-glasses and a Black Keys t-shirt curled up in a foetal position, mumbling "Cambodian Jungle Curry" over and over again.
I realized I had hit rock bottom. I rushed to a phone book, only to find that there is no twelve-step noodle addiction program. In fact, when I called one of addicts anonymous hotlines, the counsellor flat-out told me that "you can never have too many noodles" and then hung up.
What has become of Victoria?
What will become of me?